Cameron and Robert Grant of Croydon have been announced as Regional Supreme Winners at the Southland Ballance Farm Environment Awards in Invercargill this evening.
Known as Grant Brothers, the business comprises four farms that span 4,444ha (4,200ha effective). Since 1884, the original block has been added to, with the brothers inheriting a successful long-term vision that has both business and family at its core.
A lot of work has gone into the continued growth of the business through additional land purchases and sustainable development – guided by simple yet effective systems. The approach has seen the Grants achieve exceptional performance for a hill country sheep and beef farm – including a consistent lambing average of close to 150%.
When it comes to protecting and enhancing the natural environment, an impressive number of waterways have been fenced, complemented with large riparian buffers. Native trees are planted to reduce bank erosion and run-off, while peat bogs and tussock areas are being protected and there is extensive weed and pest control.
The Grants have a strong work ethic and extensive community connections, working with local iwi when planting native species, and being involved with local catchment groups as well as numerous community groups and initiatives.
In awarding the Regional Supreme Award, the judges noted the brothers’ exceptional environmental and productivity outcomes, achieved through buffer zones that provide shelter while protecting biodiversity and water quality. They also commended the farm’s livestock performance, noting that stock is well managed to the challenges of the landscape.
The Grants’ future-focused farming practices are combined with active succession planning to help ensure they pass on their hard-earned knowledge and a sustainable business to the next generation.
Cameron Grant and Robert Grant also won the following awards:
· Bayleys People in Primary Sector Award
· Beef + Lamb New Zealand Livestock Farm Award
· Rabobank Agri-Business Management Award
· Environment Southland Water Quality and Biodiversity Award
Other Southland Ballance Farm Environment Award winners include:
Mitchell Smith and Steve Smith — AB Lime, Winton
· Ballance Agri-Nutrients Soil Management Award
· DairyNZ Sustainability and Stewardship Award
· Hill Laboratories Agri-Science Award
· NZFET Biodiversity Award
Jason and Sandy Herrick — Murray Creek Farm, Castle Rock
· NZFET Innovation Award
Nick and Alexis Wadworth — Bare Hill Farming, Otapiri Gorge
· Norwood Farming Efficiency Award
The awards also served to showcase the Hedgehope Makarewa Catchment Group, which is a well-connected community project with a focus on connecting, inspiring and supporting a thriving community.
The group has been working on two key initiatives over the past few years: a cutting-edge project that uses science and local knowledge to understand how varying landscapes impact water quality; and a cross-sector trial looking at different winter crop cultivation techniques, enabling them to gain practical on-farm information to support farmers as they work to meet future environmental legislation.
The Ballance Farm Environment Awards are run by the NZ Farm Environment Trust and champion sustainable farming and growing. The Supreme Winner from each of the eleven regions involved in the awards will go through to be considered for the Gordon Stephenson Trophy at the Trust’s National Showcase at Te Papa in May. The recipients of the Gordon Stephenson Trophy then become 2023’s National Ambassadors for Sustainable Farming and Growing.